Ways of Teaching Kids to Give Back

Resources for Families

Kidlist welcomes Jason Dobrzynski, CFP®, RLP®, CMFC® and Maralynn Kearney, MBA of Corsalus Group as guest contributors to give practical advise on how we can teach our kids how they can use their time and/or money to give back.

Both Jason and Maralynn are local residents, financial advisors, and parents (Jason of a 2 year- old daughter, and Maralynn of three teenagers), and Corsalus Group is a wonderful Kidlist sponsor – we are honored that they offered to share their wisdom. You can connect with Jason and Maralynn on LinkedIn and Corsalus Group on Facebook.

As financial advisors, we have the privilege of many people telling us their personal stories about money management. For those who are parents, the conversation often turns to the importance of teaching children about the management of money. Most parents want their children to understand how to manage money effectively. For many families including both of our own, that often includes a component about teaching children to share their good fortune with others. Donating and volunteering can help to develop empathy and personal responsibility skills in your children and promotes money management skills. Giving back to your community can be a wonderful bonding experience for your entire family.

Start with Your Own Budget

Discussing a budget with your children should have a prominent position in the conversations you have with your children about money. If you’re not already discussing your budget in age-appropriate terms, now is the time to start. Basic conversations and creating a game to including a monthly “allowance” for your family’s needs is a great start to giving your child the confidence to allocate their own funds in to Spend, Save, Donate and Invest categories. Talking to your children about your own choices about investing and donating may help them understand your personal priorities for your income and your time, two limited resources!

Every Little Bit Matters

Some kids may feel with their limited resources that they can’t give much to their chosen charity- but small donations can have a big impact. One idea that has been popular recently with some children is to ask for charitable contributions to an organization that speaks to your child’s heart in lieu of a birthday gift. Many children will pick charities such as an animal shelter or a cause that supports a health condition of a loved one. What a great way to celebrate and reduce toy clutter in your home!

Your Time as a Resource

Volunteering on your own or as a family also can have a huge impact on the community. Aside from the impact many hands can offer a volunteer-led community, real hands-on experience can help children relate to the charity and make further connections to what action-based philanthropy is all about. Combined with the bonding value of spending time working together as a family, volunteering has a very important value along with donations. Another area to consider is the ways that you as a parent and a person support your community. Do you volunteer at local organizations? So many parents do, perhaps even at your child’s school. If you volunteer your time, talk to your child about your choice, and why you believe it’s important to spend your valuable time supporting an area of importance. Make sure your child knows your mindful choices, and why you believe that devoting time and energy to worthwhile causes is an important value to your family.

Corsalus team member, Natasha volunteering with her son at Feed My Starving Children

Finding a Charity that Speaks to Your Family

Sharing the good that donating can provide is a great way to get kids involved in helping their community. Think about what charities speak to you, and why they might matter to your family. If your family regularly donates to a church, charity, or fundraiser, it would be worthwhile to explain to your kids where the money goes and why you’ve chosen to allocate it there.  If you receive newsletters or updates from the charities that you support, those would be a great visual touchpoint for why your family has chosen those specific organizations. In today’s world, when we make our contributions online or with debit/credit cards, your children might not even be aware of your choices to support worthwhile organizations. Make sure you share your beliefs and your actions with your children. Your child may have a specific vision for where they would prefer to donate their own money and time, and it is important to allow your children to make their own personal choices, as appropriate, of areas to support. They might have some creative ideas of how to make a difference!

How to Make Giving Back Part of Your Family’s Routine

Volunteering and donating to local charities are wonderful ways to share your values and start a conversation about where we choose to donate and why. If your chosen charities offer activities such as a 5K, a walk, or other events, make attendance at these events part of your family’s social calendar. Maralynn and her teenage daughter have attended the same fundraiser every October together for the past 5-6 years, and it’s now a tradition and something they look forward to doing together each year.  Another of our team members, Natasha volunteered with her son at Feed My Starving Children recently.

Jason participates in the Western Springs Rotary and incorporates family in volunteer activities such as NEAT Day where they spend the day cleaning up the town so it continues to be a beautiful place to live. Other ideas include having your child pick their own charity to support during the holiday season, perhaps in lieu of a gift they might receive. Or, perhaps spending some time together at a local PADS shelter, food bank, animal shelter, making cards for first responders, or simply visiting with some elderly and possibly lonely neighbors. Really, the list of possibilities is endless and your child and you can explore it together. The important thing is to get started so you can build the confidence and the mindset in your child to share their talents and their resources with others. 

In the spirit of sharing time, The Corsalus Team, along with some clients, also recently volunteered to make a Meals From the Heart at Ronald McDonald’s House.    

Jason Dobrzynski and Maralynn Kearney are Financial Advisors offering Securities and Investment Advisory Services through Waddell & Reed, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC and Federally Registered Investment Advisor. Corsalus Group is a name used by independent advisors associated with Waddell & Reed for marketing purposes.

Waddell & Reed is not affiliated with Kidlist or any organizations referenced. (11/19)

Interested in local places to volunteer with your kids? Head over to our Volunteering with Kids article where you can find a lot of ideas for your family. You can also read more about Corsalus Group and get some great tips in the article titled How to Talk to Your Kids About Money.

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